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Unread February 8th, 2005, 12:48 PM
Cynthia Shilkret Cynthia Shilkret is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Default Re: "Integrating control-mastery theory & research with other theoretical perspective

I agree with Tom (and the others) who have pointed out the gap between what we mean by a plan and how other clinicians sometimes react to the term. It would be good if we could convey more clearly the tentativeness and flexibility inherent in unconscious plans. Joe addressed the problem to some degree when he made the distinction between a "blueprint" and a "rough guide." However, I think that part of the problem is that some clinicians view "thinking" and "feeling" as mutually exclusive. A plan doesn't mean lack of conflict or lack of affect. Some students are surprised that they can formulate a plan and still attend to the moment-to-moment changes, including affective changes, in the dyad. This has become most noticeable with clinicians who value spontaneity and surprise in the therapeutic encounter. But having a plan does not make you inauthentic. (Michael Bader has written on this more eloquently than I can, but I don't have the reference at hand.) There is nothing in the plan concept that negates the intersubjective aspect of the therapeutic dyad. It will always be a specific patient-therapist interaction with mutual influence. However, control-mastery is clear that there will be limits to the possibilities in that interaction, in part, based on the specific patient's plan. (This may be one way that the theory is less optimistic than is generally thought. While the patient may wish to improve, there may be limits to what is possible based on the patient's history, and so his/her assessment of what is safe.)

Cynthia Shilkret
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